Music is a part of so many of our lives. Whether you’re getting ready for the day, studying for school, or hanging out with friends, your favorite music is often playing in the background. As we wind down our series on California, it seemed fitting to write about California’s role in the music industry that has changed so many of our lives.
The music industry in California is massive. Over 75 record labels are based in California alone, including Disney’s Hollywood Records. Located in Burbank, Hollywood Records has a general focus on pop bands; their first major break was in 1990 when they acquired the distribution rights for Queen’s entire music catalog. Hollywood Records also releases soundtrack albums for Marvel Studios; so if you love soundtracks from your favorite superhero movies, chances are they came from Hollywood Records.
While Hollywood Records is a famous record label, the largest music corporation in the world is also from California. Universal Music Group is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and in 2015 the corporation made over $5.7 billion in revenue. UMG co-developed the music video website Vevo, which is a popular way that musical artists share their music videos.
Not only is California home to major record labels and music corporations, but it’s also home to some major music festivals. Probably the most widely known music festival in California is the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Commonly referred to as Coachella, this music festival is one of the largest music festivals in the world. Just last year, Coachella broke world records by selling 198,000 tickets and making $84.3 million in revenue. Coachella has showcased many popular musical artists, including Arcade Fire, Coldplay, The Black Keys, Beck, Muse, and Jay-Z.
Coachella isn’t the only music festival in California worth noting. The Monterey Pop Festival of 1967 is also worth mentioning, since this festival was the first major appearance by The Jimmy Hendrix Experience. Though not even ten years old, the Stagecoach Festival in Indio, California, has grown to be the highest-grossing country music festival in the world. And the Long Beach Blues Festival, held during Labor Day weekend, is one of the largest blues festivals (it’s been on a hiatus since 2010, though). No matter what genre of music you like, there is most likely a festival for that genre held in California.
And finally, California is home to several famous musicians, even some of the highest paid musicians in the world. Dr. Dre is at the top of the charts, making $620 million in 2015. As his album and movie implies, Dr. Dre hails from Compton, California, and he made West Coast G-funk popular during his rise to fame in the 1990’s. Katy Perry also hails from California, and her music and concerts grossed $135 million in 2015. California is also home to some classic musical artists, like the Beach Boys and Eagles. And California is home to Beck, whose album Morning Phase won Album of the Year at the 57th Grammy Awards in 2015.
California is truly a Golden State when it comes to music. Some of the most famous music festivals, music corporations, and musicians call California home. No matter what type of music you love, California has made some of the best music ever. And with some of the highest paid musicians in the world, California will continue to produce some of the world’s favorite music.
Our exploration of California and music is not over. Be sure to look out for the last post in our California series next week, where we will list the top 10 songs about California.